How Automation Could Worsen Racial Inequality

Self-driving buses would knock out crucial jobs in black communities across the US.

All across the world, small projects demonstrating driverless buses and shuttles are cropping up: Las Vegas, Minnesota, Austin, Bavaria, Henan Province in China, Victoria in Australia. City governments are studying their implementation, too, from Toronto to Orlando to Ohio.

And last week, the Federal Transit Administration of the Department of Transportation issued a “request for comments” on the topic of “Removing Barriers to Transit-Bus Automation.”

The document is fully in line with the approach that federal and state regulators have taken, which has promoted the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology as quickly as possible. Because most crashes are caused by human mistakes—and those crashes kill more than 30,000 Americans per year—self-driving-car proponents believe that the machines will eventually create much, much safer roads. For example, some researchers contend that fatalities could drop 90 percent, which would be a public-health triumph.

19. Januar 2018

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